Jim Cullum's "Le Blog Hot": Shaw versus Goodman.

Jim Cullum's "Le Blog Hot": Shaw versus Goodman.

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 3rd, 2011, 2:16 pm #1


In his latest blog, Jim and drummer Hal Smith chime in on the perennial Shaw vs Goodman argumentt. I transcribe here from

http://www.jimcullum.blogspot.com/

the section where Jim compares Artie Shaw to Bix Beiderbecke.

Albert

<em>For my money, no one ever played the clarinet more beautifully than Artie Shaw.<span></span>As much as I admire Benny, here are reasons I admire Shaw more:</em>

<em>1) Shaws tone is a little darker I think it is more mellow and richer and more interesting than Bennys.<span></span>In a few words, Shaws tone is unique, recognizable and gorgeous.<span></span>2.) Shaw is more careful about picking out the most interesting notes.<span></span>This may be small potatoes, but I dont think there are quite as many surprises in Bennys playing.</em>

<em></em>

<em></em>
<div><em></em></div><div>
<em></em>

<em></em>

<em>When you listen to Shaw, think of Bix and listen that way.<span></span>Shaws sound is special like Bixs and he doesnt waste many notes.<span></span>He is like Bix in telling the story. Somehow the Bix influence is in there.<span></span>Maybe it is accidental.<span></span>But I suspect that Shaw had been very impressed by Bix.<span></span>Both Beiderbecke and Shaw had special tones and both tended to find unexpected patterns.</em>

<em>Shaw had heard Bix play at his peak.<span></span>He was amazed by the sound.<span></span>The whole horn vibrated, he said.</em>

<em></em>

<em></em>

<em>A few years later Shaw roomed with Bix for a while.</em>

<em>After another 60 years, an aging Shaw attended the Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Festival at Davenport, Iowa.<span></span>He discovered that the Beiderbecke home where Bix was born and had grown up was becoming dilapidated and the roof had failed.<span></span>Shaw began to yell about the condition of the house.</em>

<em>In the end, the whole place was well restored.<span></span>This was a big deal.<span></span>To the hardcore devotee, the Beiderbecke house is a Mecca.</em>

<em></em>

<em></em>

<em></em>
</div>
<em><img border="0" alt="" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ZdmkvZ2HQXo/T ... jpeg"></em>
<div>
<em></em>

<em>I suggest that when you listen to Shaw, listen to the similarities to Bix.</em>

<em>Shaw possessed and often displayed more technique than Bix.<span></span>But dont let that confuse any point about their similarities.</em>
</div>
Reply
Like
Share

alex revell
alex revell

June 3rd, 2011, 4:05 pm #2

I think it's really all in the ear of the beholder; a question of preference. My wife loves Shaw; I love Goodman. Shaw does nothing emotionally for me at all. To me, Goodman is warm, whereas Shaw is cold, almost calculating. Also BG came up through the ranks of the jazzers and was a hot Chicago clarinettist from the word go - seventeen years old in fact. Shaw didn't, if I'm not mistaken he came up through the commercial dance band ranks. They both had great finger technique of course. BG was always looking to play big band jazz - renamed swing - whereas Shaw was always looking for some other way of playing music, adding strings etc. In my opinion, always, as in his writing, a wee bit pretentious. Kenny Davern also favoured BG, although he told me that people who had heard Shaw told him that Shaw in the flesh had an incredible sound. When it comes to being influenced by Bix, surely BG was, how could he not be: so melodic. And just listen to his solos on alto. No, for me,it's BG all the way.
Reply
Share

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 3rd, 2011, 11:42 pm #3


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwH5KtFdvrk

Strings, rhythm section, and the exquisite clarinet of Artie Shaw. From 1936.

Albert
Reply
Like
Share

Ken Bristow
Ken Bristow

June 4th, 2011, 8:25 am #4

There's so much "Bix Style" in Artie's playing on this recording. Especially on the break near the end. Using one's imagination, for every note Artie plays, substitute it for the Bix sound. Perhaps, if Bix had lived on into the Swing Era, is this how he would have sounded fronting his own big band.
Artie's always been under the influence of Bix. In the late 1920's he intended to retire and write a book about Bix. Sadly, it never materialised. Even in his nineties, Artie was still full of enthusiasm for the Goldkette Band and Bix's solo on "Clementine".
Reply
Share

Glenda Childress
Glenda Childress

June 4th, 2011, 12:32 pm #5

I don't have any expertise to add to the question of Goodman vs. Shaw. I tend to like whichever one of them I am listening to at the moment. Yes, I agree Goodman is "warmer" and at least had a larger body of "hot" work that incorporates the New Orleans <em>cum</em> Chicago sound that I really like. Shaw couldn't quite bring himself to be confortable with dirtying his tone; Benny was and used it as one of his many styles to good effect. Both broadened the range of jazz through their strong drive for "the way it's s'posed to be," getting to that perfect moment in music, that Bix managed to get to in even the slightest of tunes.

But both of them credited Bix strongly for pointing the way to make jazz music a deep, emotionally complex experience, not just bouncy stuff to dance to, and both really "got" Bix seriously and passed on that understanding through their own work. Thanks to both for that.
Reply
Share

alex revell
alex revell

June 4th, 2011, 5:25 pm #6

Glenda, Yes, but don't forget that people like Louis, with his Hot Five and Seven recordings, and Jelly's Red Hot Peppers, and others, also did a lot to make jazz more than just a bouncy music to dance to. Which it never was just that, anyway
Reply
Share

Glenda
Glenda

June 4th, 2011, 11:06 pm #7

No argument there.
Reply
Share

Glenda
Glenda

June 4th, 2011, 11:28 pm #8

There's so much "Bix Style" in Artie's playing on this recording. Especially on the break near the end. Using one's imagination, for every note Artie plays, substitute it for the Bix sound. Perhaps, if Bix had lived on into the Swing Era, is this how he would have sounded fronting his own big band.
Artie's always been under the influence of Bix. In the late 1920's he intended to retire and write a book about Bix. Sadly, it never materialised. Even in his nineties, Artie was still full of enthusiasm for the Goldkette Band and Bix's solo on "Clementine".
Ken, everything you say is true.

But then, listen to Benny Goodman's wonderful small ensemble version of "Sweet Lorraine." I think what you said about Artie's version is equally true on Benny's. Listen to how Benny picks up after the piano and takes the song out and see if you can hear what I mean.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMI6vjmc ... ature=fvwp
Reply
Share

Richard iaconelli
Richard iaconelli

June 6th, 2011, 2:21 am #9

I always have enjoyed both Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw. To me its been quite simple. Artie Shaw makes the clarinet sing; Benny makes it dance.

Artie almost always takes a vocal approach. He plays (sings) the long line thru his instrument like a singer, bends notes, slides his glissandos, like a vocalist. Great taste in picking material; lots of theater "songs."

Benny is a virtuoso instrumentalist. Remarkable dancing fingers. You can hear his mind dart from idea to idea, like a mouse running thru a maze, or a dancer trying out new steps, yet always making the correct turns to the finish.

The singer vs the dancer. That's how I hear it. I'll take 'em both.
Reply
Share

Glenda
Glenda

June 6th, 2011, 12:19 pm #10

Well put! Yours is the best distinction between the two I've ever read and explains why Goodman's playing tends to set your toes tapping or body swaying whether you are able to dance or not. Goodman "sings," too, but in a more visceral, kinetic way to me.

His "emotional" range in his thousands of recordings is also very wide, from the boyish, goofy playfulness of "Shirt Tail Stomp" to his more lyrical playing, such as "Memories of You."
Reply
Share